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TALKIN WITH DOKKEN: Where can I reserve viewing blinds

Q. I’m interested in watching sharp-tailed grouse or prairie chickens doing their spring mating displays and have heard there are places you can reserve viewing blinds. How do I go about doing that?

A. You’re in luck. There are several options for reserving viewing blinds, especially in northwest Minnesota.

The closest viewing blinds to Grand Forks are at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County about 15 miles east of Crookston. Prairie chickens are the star attraction here, although one blind on the refuge offers the potential to see both prairie chickens and sharptails.

April generally offers the best viewing opportunities.

The Crookston Convention and Visitors Bureau handles reservations for the Glacial Ridge blinds, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains on refuge lands. The blinds are popular, so it’s best to reserve early. The show gets started at first light, so visitors should plan to be onsite and in the blinds well before daylight. The CVB traditionally sends out a map with GPS coordinates and other information to people who reserve the blinds. Paths to the blinds also are marked with reflectors every 200 feet.

For more information, contact the CVB at (218) 281-4320 or reserve a blind online at

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also offers sharptail viewing blinds near Baudette, Bemidji and Lake Bronson, Minn., which can be reserved through the following DNR offices:

  • Baudette DNR area wildlife office: (218) 634-1705, ext. 222.
  • Bemidji DNR area wildlife office: (218) 308-2348.
  • Lake Bronson State Park: (218) 754-2200.

In northeast North Dakota, sharptails and prairie chickens can be viewed west of Grand Forks on the Oakville Prairie south of U.S. Highway 2 and the Prairie Chicken and Ed Bry wildlife management areas west of Manvel, N.D. Blinds are not available, but a good set of binoculars will bring the displaying birds into focus on early mornings in spring.

If you have a question for Talkin’ with Dokken, call (701) 780-1148 or send an email to

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

(701) 780-1148